LG has shown off its new bendable, paper-thin TV panels, and it’s got us looking forward to a future with no cords, TV cabinets, and rickety stands. The South Korean company revealed a new 18-inch panel at a press show last week, plus two smaller iterations - one version that’s entirely transparent, and another that can be rolled up like a newspaper to a radius of just 3 centimetres.
According to LG, their new organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are not only flexible enough to curve around the walls and corners of your home or office, they’re virtually impossible to break, and are thinner and lighter than any LCD screen currently on the market. You just need to attach a thin, magnetic base to your wall, and the ‘wallpaper’ screen can be placed on and peeled off at your leisure (see the video below).
The company has been able to achieve a 4-mm thickness thanks to the OLED technology - because the display produces its own light, no backlight is required to bulk up the design. The screen also offers a brighter, clearer picture than current LCD screens, with a high-definition resolution of 1,200 x 810. "The new transparent OLED panel is said to have a 30 percent transmittance, or clarity, which is far more than the usual 10 percent transmittance of existing transparent LCD panels, according to LG," Dara Kerr reports for CNET.
And the company says it’s only going to get better. "We are confident that by 2017, we will successfully develop an Ultra HD flexible and transparent OLED panel of more than 60 inches, which will have transmittance of more than 40 percent and a curvature radius of 100R, thereby leading the future display market," In-Byung Kang, LG Display's senior vice president and head of the R&D Centre, said in a press statement.
So what’s the catch, I hear you ask? It could be the potential price tag - CNET reports that LG's 65-inch, 4k OLED TV costs about $9,000, and that’s without the paper-thin novelty - but that’s not even the least encouraging thing about it. According to AJC.com, it could be another five to 10 years before these wallpaper displays are made available, because LG still hasn’t quite figured out how to manufacture them properly. "LG said it has hit an 80 percent yield, meaning that 20 percent of manufactured televisions don't work," says AJC.com.
But don’t let go of your impossibly thin television dreams just yet. With the likes of Samsung, Nokia and Apple also well on their way to developing super-thin and flexible smartphone and tablet screens, good old-fashioned competition will likely steamroll this thing into our homes sooner rather than later.
At which point our children will no longer have to fear ending up in the emergency room every time dad doesn’t know how to use a drill properly, and cats will have to find another way to ruin our lives: